Ross Tones aka Throwing Snow is a music evangelist. Not only does he produce music as Throwing Snow, he also holds down a day job at Hear No Evil, a London based music consultancy – helping brands such as ASOS, Nike, Honda and Cadbury’s source and create the best music for their message. Ross also runs two record labels, ‘A Future Without‘ and ‘Left Blank‘, who develop their artists organically by giving them a platform to release without any creative constraints. We caught up with Ross to discover more about the man behind the music and his burning passion for music.
On Friday 23rd August Throwing Snow plays live at The Waiting Room for Inverted Audio and Electronic Explorations alongside Rone and RocketNumberNine. Buy tickets from RA here.
His mix is vinyl only and features a choice selection of downtempo records, “It’s more like a late night comedown mix…I’ve let all the tracks play out rather than mixing quickly and I wanted an eclectic selection without being limited by BPM.” We’re keeping the track list under wraps for now as it contains some unreleased gems.
As a brief overview, could you give us a quick background of yourself, where you’re from and what you’re currently up to?
Hello! I’m originally from a beautiful place up north called Weardale, but have lived in Bristol and now London for quite a while.
I’m currently running around like a headless chicken trying to write the new Snow Ghosts album, the new Throwing Snow release, run a few labels, playing gigs and trying to keep up with my day job…..oh and desperately trying to stay awake!
Do you have any notable first experiences with electronic music – Which producers really stood out for you whilst you were growing up?
My teenage years were very much more band driven but I have a distinct memory from when I was a kid of listening to Kraftwerk ‘Autobaun’ on my parents record player. John Peel exposed me to everything from Aphex Twin to Roni Size so I guess I owe a lot to him and his eclecticism
Is there anything that you regard as an essential aspect to your music?
I don’t really know….I guess sub bass, polyrhythms and elements that aren’t electronic and have a dark almost folky aesthetic.
You also work as a producer at ‘Hear No Evil’ music consultancy in London – How and when did you get involved with ‘Hear No Evil’ and what attracted you to join the agency?
I’ve always worked in music and after working at De Wolfe I wanted to work with original music and doing song searches. Hear No Evil works ethically with composers and that made them stand out to me. We need to support music and musicians especially as it’s difficult to make a living from just record sales.
Out of all the campaigns you’ve worked on at ‘Hear No Evil’, which have been the most challenging?
Haha I’m not sure I can actually say legally (!), but the ASOS Urban Tour was challenging because we had to compose music, incorporate a Noisia track remixed by 16 Bit and then integrate it in to the site using some technology called SoundController developed by our Swedish partners Plan8.
Back in September 2011 you released ‘Shadower/Sanctum’ EP on Jamie Russell’s ‘Sneaker Social Club’ imprint – When did you first meet Jamie Russell and what led you to work together?
Jamie is one of the hardest workers in music and I only got to know him, and his lovely girlfriend Lisa, through the actual release. I only really want to release music with people I like and trust, and Sneaker Social Club ticked all the boxes.
You also run your own imprint ‘A Future Without’, whose purpose is to project new talent to the wider music culture – What new artists have you discovered recently and do you have plans to release more records?
Yeah I run ‘A Future Without‘ with Will Plowman and Left Blank with Patrick Hanrahan and John Connon. A Future Without has recently worked with Kahn, Vessel, El Kid, Memotone, Lost Twin, Achilles, 52 Commercial Rd, Lund Quartet and many more.
The aim is to develop artists and give them a platform to release without any creative constraints. We have a release by Memotone out soon and the one after that will be With Joyful Lips, both of which we are really excited about. Really looking forward to getting the next Left Blank release out by Myown and then after that another by Vessel, both on vinyl.
Where do you see it progressing in the future?
I firmly believe that to keep vinyl alive we need to integrate more with the digital side of things, so we are thinking about augmented reality and other interesting techniques to lessen the gap between physical and digital products.
What does your studio setup consist of and what is your professional opinion about analogue equipment versus digital?
I have a pretty light core set up to be honest because I like to be able to move it about. I use Ableton on a Macbook, an Alesis Micron and a MicroKorg with an outboard compressor. Most of the sounds I use have been sampled from analogue gear and I also do a lot of field recording. I also have loads of instruments (some quite battered) that I incorporate into pretty much every track.
I think analogue gear and natural sounds will always be my personal preference but digital has endless adaptability and music has always been driven by innovation in technology. I love analogue (I always buy vinyl) but also I love digital….I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive.
When producing new music, what environments do you work best in and with whom?
Definitely in my flat or bedroom, somewhere comfortable, I’m not an external studio guy at all. I love collaborating with vocalists esp Hannah Cartwright (Augustus Ghost) and Py.
Can you please expand on the mix you have recorded for IA – Is there a particular theme running throughout it and did you aim for a specific outcome?
There is definitely a theme! It’s not for the dancefloor or what I will be playing at Soundcrash, it’s more like a late night comedown mix. It’s all vinyl, I’ve let all the tracks play out rather than mixing quickly and I wanted an eclectic selection without being limited by BPM. I hope it works as an overall listen!
Do you have any words of wisdom/warning you’d like to share?
My bro’s favourite quote is ‘It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice’……I agree.Throwing SnowA Future WithoutBassDowntempoTropical